Perceptions of Ideal and Former Partners’ Personality and Similarity


  • Pieternel Dijkstra
  • Dick P. H. Barelds


The present study aimed to test predictions based on both the ‗similarity-attraction‘ hypothesis and the ‗attraction-similarity‘ hypothesis, by studying perceptions of ideal and former partners. Based on the ‗similarity-attraction‘ hypothesis, we expected individuals to desire ideal partners who are similar to the self in personality. In addition, based on the ‗attraction-similarity hypothesis‘, we expected individuals to perceive
former partners as dissimilar to them in terms of personality. Findings showed that, whereas the ideal partner was seen as similar to and more positive than the self, the former partner was seen as dissimilar to and more negative than the self. In addition, our study showed that individuals did not rate similarity in personality as very important when seeking a mate. Our findings may help understand why so many relationships end
in divorce due to mismatches in personality.